Jagdkommandos?

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Mujo
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Jagdkommandos?

Post by Mujo » 02 Mar 2010 07:42

This is the unit type that interests me the most at the moment.
My focus are the Jagd. units of the southern SS-GJ Divsions.
A got a general idea of their purpose. They were very small, lightly armed meant to mop up the last of partisan resistance after major sweeps. Perhaps that even included sympathizers and partisans trying to hide amongst the civilians. Some books call it the first or one of the first modern responses and attempts to cope with the insurgency problem. In the form of a guerrila type unit that fought the partisans at their own game, setting up traps, ambushes and taking prisoners.

Ive read up on Otto Kumm's tactics where a very small unit was sent ahead of the main force to bait the partisans into attack. To me they sound like scouts, not really Jagdkommandos or Aufklärung.

Ive also been told that Jagdkommando Abt. were put together when needed by the Regiment they belonged to. Which tells me they couldnt always be given the proper transportation like Aufklärung rated (as always situation and terrain dictates the equipment needed)

Does anyone else have any interesting info, stories....?

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rednas
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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by rednas » 02 Mar 2010 13:27

From what I read in a handbook (Gefechtsfibel from 1941 from my mind) the Jagdkommando looked a lot like the Gefechtsspähtrupp. The task was like you said, getting after partisans, escaped prisoners, parachuted pilots etc. It was the easiest way to get individuals while searching trough forests etc.

The SS Wachbattalion 'Nordwest' had a Jagdkommando made up of the Spielmannszug (music band) which had the tasks above. During operation Market Garden they were send to the Ginkel Heath (area west of Arnhem) to go ahead of the main force and explore for the just dropped Brittish parachutists. They quickly found them which resulted in heavy casualties for them.

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Mujo
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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Mujo » 03 Mar 2010 05:16

That's a good example.
When I heard of the case of musicians and non infantrymen in Jagdkommando teams, my first taught was "incidental rifle platoon"?
That would only happen if the grunt companies took heavy casualties (in other anti partisan divs) you'd want experienced grunts in Jagdkommandos, just my 2 cents on that one.

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Mujo
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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Mujo » 14 Mar 2010 09:54

Did the aufklarungs battalion always act as one solid battalion or was it ever distributed in companies to be employed by regular infantry battalions?

To avoid that confusion I think regular infantry battalions would just use experienced volunteers as scouts or for recon. roles. (Im still talking about Otto Kumm's tactics)

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 14 Mar 2010 14:16

southern SS-GJ Divsions
What are these? Mountain divisions?
Some books call it the first or one of the first modern responses and attempts to cope with the insurgency problem.
Which books? IMO it's not that much different than what Napoleon's troops were doing in Spain 130+ years previously.

Let's not overthink the German military terminology either:

aufklarungs = recon

Jagdkommandos = "hunter commandos" but probably more accurately "hunter team"

Actually, I'd posit that the Germans - or at least the Waffen-SS, did not have extensively developed counterinsurgency tactics (other than rounding up civilians and shooting them). "Jagdkommandos" sounds sexy but its basically a term for "send a infantry squad into the woods to see if they can flush out anybody"

Kumm didn't take over the 7th SS until mid-1944, and he apparently found the division in poor shape and bad morale. In addition, by June 1944 the Partisans were successfully forming larger, better-armed regular formations, so clearly whatever the Germans did between 1941 and 44 didn't work.

To get more information on the unit's anti-partisan efforts, don't forget to look up the careers of divisional commaners Obergruppenführer Arthur Phleps and Brigadeführer Karl Reichsritter von Oberkamp.

"Jagdkommandos" are also associated with the SS Jägerverbände groups, which were Skorzeny's attempt to set up SS "special forces" teams. The units actual performance never lived up to their premise or promise.

Two books that touch on the subject of jagdkommandos are Phillip Blood's Hitler’s Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe and Perry Biddiscombe's The SS Hunter Battalions

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by kiseli » 14 Mar 2010 17:54

A highly effective offensive weapon was found in the Jagdkommando (ranger detachment), designed to seek out and destroy guerrilla bands. Personnel of the detachments were usually young and combatwise veterans of German campaigns on other fronts. Physically hardy and trained to live in the open for extended periods of time, they depended little on supply columns and could pursue the guerrillas, often burdened down with wounded, families. and impedimenta, into the most inaccessible areas. When the situation required, the rangers would put on civilian clothing, disguising themselves as Chetniks or Partisans, to work their way closer to their wary enemy. In the event they came upon major guerrilla forces, the ranger detachments, seldom more than a company in strength, would keep them under observation and inform battalion or other higher headquarters. While awaiting reinforcements, they would attempt to gather additional information on the guerrilla strength and dispositions. As successful as they were in many small-scale operations; however, the ranger detachments were not numerous enough to affect decisively the outcome of the antiguerrilla campaign.
from : "German Antiguerrilla Operations in the Balkans (1941-1944)"

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Mujo
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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Mujo » 14 Mar 2010 18:22

good suggestions I'll look into them
thanks

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 14 Mar 2010 20:00

Hi Kiseli

The paragraph you cited is taken from German Antiguerrilla Operations in the Balkans (1941-1944) (CMH Publication 104-18) which was a document published by the US Army's Center for Military History in 1953. Having been written a scant 8 years after the war ended, a lot more detailed, reliable information has come to light in the past 50 years.

Reading the paragraph carefully, you'll also notice that it's more smoke than fire.
A highly effective offensive weapon
How do we know Jagdkommandos were effective? Are there any examples of Jagdkommando successes?
young and combatwise veterans of German campaigns on other fronts. Physically hardy and trained to live in the open for extended periods of time
A description with pretty much describes the average landser circa 1942.
When the situation required, the rangers would put on civilian clothing, disguising themselves as Chetniks or Partisans, to work their way closer to their wary enemy. In the event they came upon major guerrilla forces, the ranger detachments, seldom more than a company in strength, would keep them under observation and inform battalion or other higher headquarters.
Again - what is a specific example from a named unit, operation, date and place. The phrase describes a "situation" but doesn't give an historical example.

What the CMH 104-18 seems to romantically describe is one of the missions of the Friedenthal Battalion, an amalgamation of former Abwehr Brandenburger commandoes, fanatic foreign pro-Nazi collaborators and SS troops organized by the SS and commanded by Otto Skorzeny. Here's what historian Perry Biddiscombe has to say about the unit's operations in the Balkans:

The SS Hunter Battalions p. 25:
"...We might also note that, tales of derring-do aside, Skorzeny's commandoes were often deployed against rear-echelon troops, policemen or civilians, and that any well-trained unit of light infantrymen, given the same liberal access to radios, explosives and aircraft, probably could have achieved similar results. (footnote 37)

Such as it was, the Friedenthal Battalion had two basic duties. One was to provide raiding parties that functioned in the immediate rear of the enemy, operating from bases behind their own lines in the manner traditionally associated with commandos. One of the first places where this tactic was tried was Yugoslavia, where the Friedental First Company, the remains of the original Oranienburg formation, still under van Vessem, was deployed against Titoist Partisans. Van Vessem, it appears, was not a Skorzeny favorite and was dispatched far from the new center of power. Special Friedenthal platoons were organized and their personnel disguised in civilian clothes or enemy uniforms. These "Trupps" were comprised of twenty-five soldiers each, usually assembled at a ratio of two Germans to each foreign volunteer, and when deployed they split up into six-man teams that infiltrated the enemy rear and camped for three or four weeks in heavily-wooded areas. Typically, they roamed freely throughout their operational areas, carrying out sabotage and reconnaissance, aided by local sympathizers. When they collected information, they returned to a central rendezvous point, where intelligence was radioed back to German-held territory and fresh targets were provided." (38)
Biddiscombe goes on to describe a specific operation on p.27:
"... In Operation 'Theodor', launched in January 1944, Skorzeny, Besekow and two of their Balkan specialists, Hauptsturmführer Mandl and Stüwe, made preparations for a small detachment of Croatian signals troops to grab Marshall Josef Broz Tito and then hand him over to a larger German unit. The operation, as originally conceived, was never carried out because of communications difficulties, Yugoslav Titoist advances and political strife amongst Germany's Croatian allies, although several Skorzeny Leute were parachuted behind enemy lines and they managed to locate Tito's headquarters. This valuable intelligence was passed on to SS paratroopers who actually carried out an abortive raid in June 1944. Skorzeny and Radl objected to later allegations that they were partly to blame for the failure of the paratroop mission, claiming that by the time it was launched they no longer had much involvement in the project."

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by kiseli » 14 Mar 2010 21:08

very illuminating. your point?

The rise of partisan warfare was primarily attributable to three causes. First, the Soviet government made a concentrated effort to initiate and build up a guerrilla movement. Second, the German government's harsh occupation policy turned the local population against the Germans and increased support for the partisans. Finally, the German
security forces, while effective in protecting logistical installations and transportation routes against minor threats, were ill-prepared to identify and counter the growing partisan organization.
The German rear security forces were simply unable to aggressively patrol their respective areas, collect intelligence on guerilla activities, and display any initiative in destroying partisan bands while still relatively weak. For instance, the army groups security divisions could do little more than provide limited guard and response forces because they often
covered areas in excess of 10,000 square miles and lacked adequate mobility. Many occupied regions of the Soviet Union contained swamps, forests, and mountains. Such areas provided excellent hiding places for guerrilla bands to organize and train beyond the limited reach of the German security forces.
Given an initial opportunity to thrive, partisan strength rose from virtually nothing in the summer of 1941 to approximately 30,000 at the end of 1941, and over 150,000 by the summer of 1942. Guerrillas became increasingly bold in their attacks against German rear operations. They ambushed truck convoys, mined rails to destroy supply trains, blew up bridges, assassinated German military leaders and Soviet sympathizers, and performed clandestine missions to
support Soviet conventional forces.
Toward the end of 1941, the Germans realized that their doctrinal employment of security forces in protection and response roles was not an effective means to counter the growing partisan threat. The partisans were becoming well organized and achieving increasing successes in their rear area attacks. The German Army groups independently developed methods for security posts along railroads and highwsys, increased use of conventional reaction forces, and conducted large scale anti-guerrilla offensives. These measures achieved mixed results in protecting rear activities
and were largely ineffective in destroying partisan bands. Additionally, such operations caused a considerable drain of German Army units which were desperately needed along the Eastern front. Finally grasping the need for some of sort of standardized anti-partisan organization to gain the initiative, the OKH issued special instructions at the end of August
1942 which mandated that:
Every Commander of an Army Rear Area, every Security Division, and every other Division employed in areas endangered by bands, must immediately organize Jagdkommandos.Jagdkommandos (commando hunters) were platoon or company sized units armed with light automatic weapons, supplied with mobile communications equipment, and
specially trained in anti-guerrilla tactics.Jagdkommandos were exempt from guard duties, work details, and anything else which interfered with their direct action against partisans. They were able to acquire detailed intelligence about their specific area of operations (AO) and demonstrate initiative against guerrilla groups by remaining in the same region for
extended periods, emphasizing speed and security, and fighting as the guerrillas did themselves.
The Jagdkommandos were the most effective antiguerrilla effort employed by the Germans. Penetrating into areas previously accessible only to the Soviet partisans, the Jagdkommandos fought against smaller sized partisan bands and coordinated with conventional forces to attack larger guerrilla forces. They persistently hunted guerrilla groups, interfered with the partisans abilities to regroup, and never allowed them a chance to rest. As the Jagdkommandos became more experienced, it became progressively easier to find the partisan bands, drive them from their bases,
keep them constantly on the move, and deny the guerrillas opportunities to strike at rear activities.The Germans realized too late that rear operations forces must be able to obtain intelligence and seize the initiative against guerrilla groups. Unfortunately for the Germans, the deteriorating front line situation severely limited the number of personnel available for Jagkommando units. Driven out of the Soviet Union by mid-1944, the Germans ran out of time before their proactive anti-partisan efforts had an adequate opportunity to significantly reduce the Soviet guerrilla rear area threat.
Despite observing the the Germans' problems in protecting rear operations against a widespread partisan threat, the Soviets would have similar difficulties in countering rear area guerrilla threats several decades later during their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. same as NATO. now

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 14 Mar 2010 23:11

very illuminating. your point?
I think the only point I need to make is that your entire post is lifted from p.10-14 of US Army Major EM Sekerak's 1992 monograph Is Current US Army Rear Area Operations Doctrine Prepared to Counter a Guerrilla Threat in Rear Areas? (U) available at www.stormingmedia.us/82/8262/A826262.pdf or handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA262628. Word for word.

Kiseli, are you Major EM Sekerak? If you're not, your passing his work off as your own writing. Not a very honest thing to do.

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by kiseli » 15 Mar 2010 07:51

you are right. so this is

" Is Current US Army Rear Operations Doctrine Prepared to Counter a Guerrilla Threat in Rear Areas
Authors: Edward M. Sekerak; ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES "

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Mujo » 29 Mar 2010 07:25

SS Hunter Battalions, at a glance, seems to be all about special forces, collaborators and saboteurs with the Germans......nothing really about Jagdkommando units of the Gebirgsjager divisions..like I expected.
maybe Bandit Hunters will be more of what Im expecting.

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Panzermahn » 29 Mar 2010 12:19

The Baltic SD units such as the Latvian and Estonian SD established their own Jagdkommandos units for the purpose of infiltrating and destroying Soviet partisans as well as the infamous NKVD demolitions battalions that runs wild in the Baltic states

The SS Jagdverband under Otto Skorzeny also established SS jagdkommandos to hunt and destroy partisans.

I also read that NSKK, Organisation Todt, TeNO established their own jagdkommandos at their own sector to conduct recon as well as gathering intel and participating in search and destroy missions against the partisans

The Kriegsmarine KKV had their own jagdkommandos for anti-partisan warfare and they were especially active in OZAK (Operationszone Adriatische Kuestenland) as well the Dalmatian coasts

At the end of the war, officers of the Jagdverband and Jagdkommando units were no. 3 in Allied search lists (in order to document their experience in Kleinkrieg tactis and operations) after Nazi war criminals and German scientists/technical experts.

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Hecht » 29 Mar 2010 12:30

Mujo wrote:This is the unit type that interests me the most at the moment.
My focus are the Jagd. units of the southern SS-GJ Divsions.
A got a general idea of their purpose. They were very small, lightly armed meant to mop up the last of partisan resistance after major sweeps. Perhaps that even included sympathizers and partisans trying to hide amongst the civilians. Some books call it the first or one of the first modern responses and attempts to cope with the insurgency problem. In the form of a guerrila type unit that fought the partisans at their own game, setting up traps, ambushes and taking prisoners.

Does anyone else have any interesting info, stories....?
Hello,

At a fleamarket in Germany I did meet many, many years ago a WSS-GJ, now dead, awarded with the Bandenkampfabzeichen: he was part of a Jagdkommando and he told me few stories about his service.
He said they they were meant to go up there mountains in pain clothes to attract partisans and get close to them: since theirs civilian clothes were actually too new to be considered as actual partisans, the SS washed them many times, scratching with stones, long the alpine small rivers.

A stunning serie of pictures related to a pain clothes Jagdkommando in action against partisans, along with tons of infos about those kind of units, you can find on "Karstjager" by Corbatti\Nava, Editions Heimdal 2010.

Hope it helps.

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Re: Jagdkommandos?

Post by Mujo » 30 Mar 2010 08:36

Hecht wrote:
Mujo wrote:This is the unit type that interests me the most at the moment.
My focus are the Jagd. units of the southern SS-GJ Divsions.
A got a general idea of their purpose. They were very small, lightly armed meant to mop up the last of partisan resistance after major sweeps. Perhaps that even included sympathizers and partisans trying to hide amongst the civilians. Some books call it the first or one of the first modern responses and attempts to cope with the insurgency problem. In the form of a guerrila type unit that fought the partisans at their own game, setting up traps, ambushes and taking prisoners.

Does anyone else have any interesting info, stories....?
Hello,

At a fleamarket in Germany I did meet many, many years ago a WSS-GJ, now dead, awarded with the Bandenkampfabzeichen: he was part of a Jagdkommando and he told me few stories about his service.
He said they they were meant to go up there mountains in pain clothes to attract partisans and get close to them: since theirs civilian clothes were actually too new to be considered as actual partisans, the SS washed them many times, scratching with stones, long the alpine small rivers.

A stunning serie of pictures related to a pain clothes Jagdkommando in action against partisans, along with tons of infos about those kind of units, you can find on "Karstjager" by Corbatti\Nava, Editions Heimdal 2010.

Hope it helps.
thats really interesting
was he with the southern SS-GJ units? (Prinz Eugen, Handschar and Karstjager)

the description so far reminds me of what the Brandenburg troops used to do
Image
...here they are, dressed up as Serbian civilians

Most places Ive heard Jagdkommandos mentioned didnt indicate that they went to such lengths to blend in.
They would work on platoon and even squad levels (light infantry, sometimes mobilized, without artillery support) but still in their camouflage uniforms.

What's confusing me are these collaborator units that are classified as Jagdkommandos (non uniformed and non SS members)
Im guessing they were closer to members of the Jagverbande
I dont know if there's even a clear definition of Jagdkommando to begin with

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